Group aims to restrict adult stores in Missouri capital -

Group aims to restrict adult stores in Missouri capital

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Opponents of a new Jefferson City store whose merchandise includes adult-oriented products are pursuing a change in the law to make it harder for similar stores to open in Missouri's capital city.

The Jefferson City News Tribune reports ( ) a group of opponents is preparing to circulate a petition to amend the city's ordinance on adult-oriented businesses.

Their proposal would create a tighter definition of pornography and change the law's definition of an adult business.

Jefferson City's existing law requires that more than one-third of a store's sales be adult items to be defined as an adult store. City officials say only about one-quarter of the stock offered by the new store consists of adult items.

Jan Kruse, a supporter of the proposed ordinance change, has protested outside the new store and spoken about the issue at City Council meetings.

Petitions to amend Jefferson City ordinances must come from a committee of five voters. Kruse said such a committee has been formed on the adult business issue, and she hopes the group will begin working on a petition in the next several days.

"It's coming together," Kruse said.

The proposed petition would be submitted to the city clerk and city attorney for review to ensure it follows the proper format. If approved, the petition could then be circulated.

Supporters would then have to secure signatures from about 1,200 registered Jefferson City voters. If they succeed, the petition would advance to the City Council, which could either accept the change as a new ordinance or reject it and therefore send it to the ballot for voters.

Assistant city attorney Drew Hilpert said a common problem with petitions is how the signatures are gathered. Petitioners cannot simply leave the document in a public place to be signed, but must witness people putting their names on the paper.

If the law is changed, Hilpert said, existing businesses would be "grandfathered" in and allowed to operate under the existing codes.

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